UK-based online school InterHigh will be teaching classes in an additional timezone to benefit overseas students.
InterHigh, founded in 2005, teaches high school and sixth form college classes. Last year it taught 440 students, about a third of whom lived outside of the UK in places like France, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, and Spain. Since the classes are live, they will be adding additional classes that begin three or four hours earlier in the day to serve students in different time zones.
Director of Development Jacqueline Daniell said that the shift is purely practical:
It’s just to help those out that could be studying quite late in the day, so that students aren’t having to study late in the evening, or attend live classes later in the evening. There’s no point in offering hundreds of different time zones, when clearly it works for most people.
In addition to live classes, InterHigh offers a lesson library that stores the entire curriculum and recordings of lessons for future viewing, according to its website. Students and teachers can interact during live classes in multiple ways including general or private messages, a computer-based whiteboard, and voice.
Classes are limited to 18 students. There are also extracurricular activities, a common room, and a yearly meet-up.
InterHigh is expanding its courses by adding French, Spanish, and Latin A-level courses, and Film Studies and Business Studies at the GSCE level. According to InterHigh, unavailability of classes due to lack of funds and/or expert teachers in traditional schools is a reason to turn to online schools.
Billy Camden of Schools Week quoted Daniell on InterHigh’s efforts to fill niches in the online education marketplace:
There are a lot of sixth forms that are cutting back on language offerings but it is no less important to the students going to university on those courses so the supply has become less but the demand is just the same. We are looking to help those students out really.
Dominic Norrish, Group Director of Technology at the United Learning Trust, said:
Schools will start having to offer these subjects taught by non-specialists which is not fair on anyone, the teacher or the pupil, so they will be forced to look for alternatives.
They certainly won’t replace traditional schools but they are a great other option. The benefits of flexibility and accessibility to online learning is a big plus side. Students can be anywhere and doing other things such as working.
InterHigh now offers more student services, including career advice.
The company is also working together with East African schools to broaden their sixth form offerings without the expense of physical buildings, writes Beckie Smith of The Pie News. Next fall, schools will offer courses on the InterHigh platform, or allow students to take existing InterHigh courses.
Rather than going to the expense of having to acquire buildings … they can expand their own schools quite easily by having a virtual element. It’s a new way of learning for some of the countries that don’t have a lot of blended learning programs.